A Total Eclipse

Before I get into the story, you need to know a few things.  Hubby and I have worked hard at being partners, but sometimes that included me taking a subordinate role as he was the primary breadwinner.  Other times Hubby took a subordinate position to my pursuit of my dreams.  In the world outside our home, I was little more than a supporting player.

In the world outside our home, salespeople, usually men, would talk exclusively to Hubby. This eclipse occurred when we purchased insurance, cars, homes, anything else of a major nature, but even though salespeople would not make eye contact with me, nor offer their hand in greeting, yet they were sure to get my signature on the second signature line of a contract so I would also be responsible for the bill when it came due.  

When I called workmen, I had trouble conveying the proper level of importance to the issue.  Even the teachers of our children, most of whom where women, seemed to brush off any feedback from me.  If Hubby was willing to take time out of the business day to deal with workmen and teachers, things were dealt with in an expedient manner.  The fact that I was the ventriloquist of the act made no difference.  For action to be taken, Hubby had to do the talking.  

Now that you understand the background, you are ready for the story.

The Dream

I went to sleep a woman, but I awoke in my dream as a man.  I marvel at my strong, well-developed, manly muscles, I’m 10 to 12 inches taller than my female self.  My hair, well, who cares, I’m a man and it doesn’t matter!  Yet I recognize I am a very handsome man by any standards.

I am also the leader of a space armada, and we receive an urgent SOS.  A planet near by is under attack.  I lead my armada into battle.  I am brave, respected, and my crew jumps to my every command.  I skillfully outflank the invaders, and while basking in my victory, I am invited down to the planet to meet with the planetary leaders.

I am greeted on the planet by a male/female delegation, each in equal number.  The highest ranking female of the delegation invites me to meet the Princess of this world. (My sleeping self thinks, this really is a male fantasy!)  The Princess is beautiful, petite as my sleeping self.  “You were very brave in battle, and I wish to offer you the highest reward in my power.  My hand in marriage, and you will sit beside me in rule of this world.”  Oh wow!  That would make me a prince of this world, a ruler?

She continues, “Before you answer you need to understand some things about our world. Couples are joined in such a way that they can’t be separated by more than 12 to 15 feet from each other.  This necessitates that couples always work together.  The members of the delegation that met you when you arrived are all couples working together.  We would have to be together in all we do.

“With your tactical abilities we could work well together, but you must know, my duties are here.  You would have to give up space, give up your rank and service to the armada.  Once the coupling is completed, it cannot be undone for any reason.  This is not just a social convention, but it is physically impossible to sever the connect without resulting in death of at least one member of the couple and possibly both.  Separation has been tried many times, always with tragic results.”

So as husband to this beautiful Princess, I would rule close by her side, over an entire planet.  A device is inserted into my spine and into her spine.  As we take our vows of marriage before the priest of this world I can feel the connection growing.  While we can’t read each others minds, we do know what the other is feeling.

We begin our duties, working side by side.  The commanders come with their reports, and I am consulted on planetary defense, but no action is taken without the approval of the Princess.  Reports are brought to the Princess, she consults with me, and others listen as I make my recommendations, but nothing is done without the Princess giving an order.

Irritated, I test the limits of our bond.  At 12 feet I start to feel uncomfortable in a vague way, nothing specific hurts, but I do not feel good either.  At 13 feet I start to feel a little queasy (like morning sickness my sleeping self thinks).  I notice concern in the bond from my wife.  At 14 feet, I feel not only queasy, but pain throughout my body.  At 15 feet the pain is intense, but I am still on my feet.  Through the bond, I sense my wife’s concern.   I look over at my wife, and see her pain is as great as mine.  I remember that if the bond is broken one, or both, of us could die.  I have to move closer to her.  She never says a word, no anger, no admonishment.  We go about our work.

I attempt a different approach.  Instead of speaking to my wife first, I give an order directly to the commander.  The commander goes directly to the Princess to hear her orders.  I look around.  Of the couples that go in and out, it is the women who give the reports, and consult with the Princess.  The men, working with their wives, are barely recognized, except in a superficially polite way.  Around our command center, I notice the same thing  with all the couples around me.  While working alongside their wives, all interactions, all business, is conducted by the women.

My wife senses my confusion, and asks me what is wrong.  “I led the fleet that saved this planet, and now it is like I am invisible.  No one hears a word I say, until you repeat it.”

“My dear, I am the leader here.  In fact, men are subordinate to their wives in all things.  Husband, I thought you understood this.”

My sleeping self awakes shouting, “NO!  Even as a man in a dream I can’t be in charge.”

12 thoughts on “A Total Eclipse

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  1. Unfortunately in this country I don’t really think gender makes a huge difference with tradies. Some are great and worth holding on to but so many are just arrogant pricks who talk down to anyone. They don’t have to work hard to get the jobs they do and therefore their attitudes towards those they work for reflect that. However I will say the teachers at the kids school (all female so far) are so outgoing when it comes to parents. They may well ignore things later but face to face they are absolutely brilliant. Our daughter’s current teacher always welcomes me into to talk about things that are going on and offers both advice to help and listens to any concerns I have.


  2. What a great piece. And it has spurred me on to jot down some possible ideas for gendered stories of my own. My situation is interesting as well. I’m a retired prof. I stay home, Swiffer sweep, vacuum, wash dishes, dry the same, water the plants, walk the dog, and read and write. My wife goes to work 7 – 5. She loves her job. She’s a translator. When she needs help with her English, I step in and do what I can. She invites co-workers over and we have the best evening ever. They speak Japanese most of the time, but I’m also teaching myself Japanese. It’ll take a while, but I’m gonna get there. 🙂 I think the Japanese men wonder what the hell I’m doing when I get up and help with dishes, but I don’t mind. I’m older than most and they are incredibly respectful. I have come to realize over the past four years how demanding a home can be. I love housework, and I must say, it’s made me a better husband. And definitely having a wife who appreciates all I do makes it all worth it.

    Your narrative is true, and in this culture I think we may be surprised at how many women still labor under the old patriarchal regime.

    Liked by 1 person

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